Centre and Delhi government trade barbs over Metro phase 4
The tussle over Delhi Metro’s phase-4 expansion plan intensified on Tuesday with the ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) blaming the Delhi government for “delaying the project for four years”, leading to a cost escalation of ₹5,000 crore.
The ministry’s response came after the Delhi government had issued directions to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) not to start work on phase-4 until it got further clarifications on the project’s funding. In its last meeting before the Election Commission announced the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Union Cabinet approved three “priority corridors” of Metro’s Phase-4 to address traffic congestion and rising pollution levels in the national capital.
The Delhi government had objected that its share of the expenditure to build the three corridors had increased to ₹7,844.70 crore from ₹5,994.50 crore.
Responding to the government’s claim, the MoHUA in a statement said, “As per the proposal for the three corridors submitted by DMRC in January 2018 (the cost of which was proportionate to the cost of the six corridors approved by Delhi Cabinet earlier), the total liability of city government was ₹8,872 crore, whereas, as per the cost approved by the Centre in March, the total liability of Delhi government has come down by more than ₹1,000 crore to ₹7,844 crore.”
The approved corridors were Aerocity to Tughlakabad, Janakpuri to RK Ashram and Mukundpur to Maujpur. The other three corridors — Rithala-Bawana-Narela, Inderlok to Indraprastha and Lajpat Nagar to Saket G Block — were put on hold.
Union minister for HUA Hardeep Singh Puri criticised the Delhi government for “misleading” people. “The Aam Aadmi Party government has done what it is used to doing – spreading a web of lies,” he said.
The Delhi government also issued a statement on Tuesday, saying the Centre should have informed it about the plan of approving only three of the total six corridors in phase-4. “The Delhi cabinet could also have approved only these three corridors,” it said. The Delhi Cabinet had approved all six corridors of phase-4 on December 19, 2018.
The HUA ministry also alleged that the Delhi government has been “following a similar propaganda to stonewall the Delhi-Meerut RRTS (Regional Rapid Transit System) project”.
The ministry also countered Delhi government’s claim that its equity component has been increased from 8.08% to 16.36% and that the entire amount towards land acquisition has been apportioned to the Delhi government. The city administration had claimed that earlier it was apportioned between the Centre and the Delhi government equally.
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